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President Muhammadu Buhari has earmarked N148 billion to the National Assembly in the 2020 Appropriation Bill he presented to the joint House on Tuesday.

This figure is an increase from 2019 allocation to both chambers (N139.5 billion) — an amount of which N35 billion went to the Senate, and N57 billion to the House of Representatives.

The budgeted amount will cater for legislative aides, the National Assembly, National Assembly Commission, National Assembly Legislative Institute as well as the service-wide vote of the legislature.

The aggregate expenditure proposed by Mr Buhari on behalf of the Federal Government in the budget submitted is N10.3 trillion, of which N2.5 trillion will be used to service debt, an accumulation of loans and other borrowings the government has accrued over the years.

The breakdown presented by the president showed that N556.7 billion is estimated for statutory transfers.

Statutory transfers are funds meant for government agencies whose allocations are given top priorities when funds are being disbursed, ahead of Ministries, Agencies and Departments.

Capital expenditure is expected to gulp N2.14 trillion.

Non-debt recurrent expenditures — which are operation cost like salaries, subsidies, grants, etc — was put at N4.8 trillion and provision for Sinking Fund to retire maturing bonds issued to local contractors is N296 billion.

Mr Buhari’s proposal was based on the assumption that oil will sell for $57 per barrel; the country will daily produce 2.18 million barrels of crude oil; and $1 will equate to N305, in 2020.

Call For Accountability

Year after year, the National Assembly has been known for keeping the breakdown of its budget away from public view.

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This changed for once in 2017, when the 8th Assembly published the breakdown of its budget.

This came after an #OpenNASS campaign, a brainchild of BudgIT and other civil society organisations in the country, gained steam after it was first launched in 2015.

However, in the years that followed, the National Assembly went back to its budget secrecy mode.

While presenting the report on the Senate Legislative Agenda for the 9th Assembly in September, one of the hallmarks of the report was the avowal of the Senate to be open.

Chairman of the ad-hoc committee that sat on the report, Adamu Aliero (APC Kebbi Central), had said not only would they work to block revenue leakages, back anti-corruption, but that the National Assembly would ensure openness of its budget to the public.

“By throwing open the budget of the National Assembly, Nigerians will know that we have nothing to hide,” Mr Aliero had said

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